Last minute I decided to do another market, last week. Like less than 48 hours, last minute.
In Austin ,down on SoCo (South Congress), "they" (shops on SoCo) celebrate First Thursday. The first Thursday of each month shops, on this strip of Congress that normally close early, stay open late. Some of these stores and restaurants have sales, specials, and bands. Also on this day street vendors pop up, whom are not usually there during the regular work week. So at the last minute I decided to sign up.
First Thursday had been in my thoughts for some time. Even before I started the blogging/Etsy thing, I've wondered about it. A few weeks ago I inquired about setting up a booth and got a response with space details and pricing, but I checked out the weather forecast, and rain was scheduled for the whole week. However, last week as I was checking on the weather for the week I noticed there was no predicted rain on that day. Ugh! Maybe I'll do it next month, I thought. However, since I'm currently unemployed I figured it's now or never. I don't plan on getting out of a day job early to participate in a weekday market. You know what I mean?
I held my breath, and inquired if any remaining spots were available. I got a response back, yes. So I jumped in and and took it before I over thought it. Then I realized...(well I knew, but it didn't register) that this is an evening market, and I would need lighting, and my market setup/help (my sisters and mom) were all at work during setup time. So I'd be alone. I'd have to set up all by myself, tent, tables, heavy bins, and unpacking. Then once again this is at night, and I didn't have lighting for this. Yikes!!!
The next morning I decided I'd do a test run on the tent, that I had only used once before, to see if I could set it up by myself. The answer was no. Oh no! Then I went to the store to see what kind of lighting I should get, and as I roamed I remembered I had some rope lights. Yes! However, when I dug them out they ended up being colored lights (red, blue, green). Ugh! That is not going to work. Then I remembered my sister had a whole bunch of paper lantern, battery powered, lights from her wedding and she said I could use those. Yes!
Once she brought the lanterns over, that night, my mom asked her about some stranded bulb lights she also had for her wedding, and thought they would be better than the lantern lights. She said I could use those so I went right over to her house to get them. I had to do a test run set-up of lights that night to see how they would look. After about an hour of messing with them and seeing how to work with a 100 foot strand of bulbs I got it up. They looked great.
D-day was already here. I made sure I had everything I needed for the day, extension cords, power strip, credit card processor (Square), receipts, clips, string, tape, scissors, table cloths (aka sheets), rope, cash, bags, wrapping/packing paper, etc....etc....etc. As well as merchandise. Before I knew it I was out the door, with only chocolate milk in my stomach (from the morning), and it was already 2:30. I ran by the gas station grabbed some chips and Gatorade.
I got to the Snack Bar (one of the restaurants that lease out their parking lot for the markets) and got appointed my spot. Right next to me was a couple holding their new, just purchased, tent and they were reading through the instructions on how to set it up. I offered to help them since it looked similar to mine, and it was up in no time. They then helped me set my tent up. Phew! I was sweating on how that was going to get done. I then spent the next 1 1/2 (or was it 2 1/2 hours?) unpacking and setting up.
Time to sit back, relax, and wait for customers. My sister got there eventually to help me through the night and pack up at the end of the night.
My other booth neighbor also had a vintage tent set up, similar but different stuff than me. She mostly had vintage wears, clothes, purses, glasses etc. So that meant we had a lot to chit chat about (and I'm so not the chit chat, talking type), but it was good company and fun.
The company was good, unfortunately the sales were bad. Like super bad. Far from $50 booth space, break-even bad. It was the same for my two neighbors. Hmmm. I don't know what happened. People walked by, but didn't seem interested. As the night went by, we all talked wondering what the deal was. Were the people just walking by from their cars to the restaurant? Were they students with no funds to spare? I don't know.
This is my 4th market attempt, the 3rd out of 4 being a total bomb. Do I continue? Should I just stick to Etsy? Even though that doesn't do super well, yet. I've registered to attend a market in May, and yesterday it was confirmed that I am accepted. The tricky thing to this market is it's ALL hand-made goods, so my vintage treasures security blanket would be removed and I'd be totally naked with my purses and aprons (that really haven't sold. Two purses and 3 coin purses in the last 10 months). Ay!
Of course I need more inventory, so my mind is brewing of ideas for additional, different inventory. I'm thinking vintage sheet napkins, key fobs, burp cloths, coin purses, and bunting. For burp cloths what would be best for the second side, flannel or terry cloth? It's two months from now so I need to get moving. I've learned too well that time flies.
I hope I'm not a masochist (not really, but why else do I keep on trying with the continued failures?). However, after some time thinking about it, and not really thinking there would be a difference in the customer base, it was realized the venue does make a difference (so I'm guessing). The last market I did at the High Ball, a vintage, retro restaurant/bar/bowling alley, where I did really well at makes sense since I sell vintage stuff. Duh! If people/customers like the High Ball it's because of their vintage/retro feel they would more likely like vintage/retro goods, right? This is where I need to stick to, at least for my vintage goods.
Oh, I will say at this last market I was pleased with how I got my purses and aprons displayed. I ran a clothes line and clothes pinned them up along the sides of the tent. Plus the tent did look really nice at night. Those lights made all the difference.